The Lombard Mennonite Peace Center (LMPC) ministry receives its impetus from II Corinthians 5:18 – “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” Thus, LMPC seeks to ground its peacemaking in a biblical understanding of salvation and Christian discipleship.
LMPC began in 1983 as a congregationally-based ministry with a local and regional focus to its outreach ministries. LMPC was conceived as a peace resource center – sharing speakers, audio-visual resources, and literature with churches and the broader public throughout the Chicago metropolitan area and beyond. Initially LMPC was called upon to provide educational resources on biblical peacemaking in regard to such issues as the nuclear arms race, U.S.-Soviet relations, Central America, and other global issues.
Over the years, the demand for LMPC’s educational programs has grown significantly such that we now have a national focus to our outreach ministry. Our Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders has been utilized as a resource by multiple denominations for equipping pastors and other leaders with the skills necessary to address conflict in transforming ways.
In the 1990’s, LMPC added an international component to its work, having provided training in conflict transformation skills for church leaders in the former Yugoslavia. From 1996 to 2011, Richard Blackburn, LMPC Executive Director, led an annual training event held either in London or various other cities in the United Kingdom. Since 2005 he has also periodically led training events in the Netherlands and at the Theological Seminary and Conference Centre Bienenberg in Switzerland. Finally, each summer, from 2006 to 2013, he taught a course on Religion and Dispute Resolution: Mediation Skills for Church Leaders in Florence, Italy, for Southern Methodist University. In more recent years, we have led a Peacemaker’s Pilgrimage to the Holy Land every other year.
Educational leaders, responding to an increase in violence and other destructive expressions of conflict in classrooms and on playgrounds, have sought alternative approaches to the management of conflict in schools. LMPC has offered training to teachers, school social workers, and administrators in conflict transformation skills for the classroom, and in establishing peer mediation programs in schools.
In 1998 LMPC reorganized as an independent non-profit ministry responsible to a ten-member Board of Directors. Today LMPC provides resources on a diverse range of peace and justice concerns, from biblical foundations for peacemaking, to conflict transformation skills for the family, the church, the workplace, and the community. We have also become a nationally recognized ministry for training church leaders in understandings grounded in family systems thinking via our Clergy Clinic and our Advanced Clergy Clinic in Family Emotional Process. Additionally LMPC is increasingly called upon to help those caught in difficult conflict to find reconciliation and healing by offering mediation services for individuals, churches, and other organizations.
Maintain a Christ-centered vision, within an Anabaptist tradition as articulated in Article 22 of the “Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective.”
Maintain an educational focus, rather than an advocacy/activist focus.
Offer a holistic approach to peacemaking, offering services to address the whole range of peace and justice issues.
Offer training services in conflict transformation and mediation skills, as well as consulting services for conflicted churches, church judicatories, and church-related organizations.
Offer training services in conflict transformation skills to schools.
Offer peacemaking initiatives in international settings as opportunities arise in a culturally sensitive manner.
Be a resource for helping other Mennonite churches establish peace centers in their geographic areas.
Be open to God’s leading and guidance—looking for open doors as indicators of where God may be leading.
and model faithfulness to Christ in all that it does.